Corfu trial leaves travel agents wary of DIY bookings

The Corfu trial has prompted fears among DIY agents that they could be held responsible if a similar case should arise.

Despite the not guilty verdict, agents said they would be more cautious about taking full responsibility as a principal.

Abta chairman John McEwan said: “Agents need to understand the obligations upon them if they act as principal. There is more risk associated with it.”

Nigel Armitage, managing director of Leicester-based Millington Independent, said: “This would make an agent think twice about who to buy property from. I think more agents will do business with tour operators.

“We only work with operators, as we want to make sure we don’t carry the can. We can’t check every hotel in the world.”

World of Travel proprietor Andrew Earle added: “Agents don’t want to put themselves at risk – not everywhere has the same safety stan­dards as we expect in the UK.”

However, Steve Endacott, chief executive of On Holiday Group, said the majority of hotels were “completely safe”.

Bed banks require hotels to fill out self-assessment health and safety checks and Endacott said the jail sentences would be a “wake-up call” to hoteliers to maintain standards.

A move by leading bed banks to work together on health and safety in the aftermath of the Corfu deaths collapsed in 2007 over concerns about joint liability.

Endacott said the objections at the time were “ridiculous”, adding: “We did not see this as a competitive issue. We would be happy to share our data with anyone.”

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